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How to live to be 95

Lessons from my grandfather:

  1. Walk your dog twice a day.
  2. Eat oatmeal for breakfast.
  3. Always have a project going.

Tea and fishing may also figure into the plan. I’ve walked the dog and eaten my oatmeal, if with coffee rather than tea, and now I’d like to invite you to join me in wishing John J Goslee a wonderfully happy 95th birthday. If you leave a comment for him, I will print them out and mail them.

(Grandpa and Mooch, June 2009)

When I was young, my parents owned a marina in northern Michigan. Grandpa lived in Ann Arbor, but spent most of his weekends up north with us, fishing. He would stop at the Ann Arbor Public Library and bring me armloads of books. It’s possible that’s how I discovered Oz; it’s certainly how I was introduced to Tintin, Asterix and Obelix, and many more.

As well as encouraging my love of books, Grandpa encouraged my love of poking around outdoors. I spent plenty of time with him, a fishing pole, and a thermos of hot sweet tea. After I grew up and went away to college, he would send me pussy willows and pressed violets in the spring because he knew I loved them.

Grandpa was stationed in China during World War II, I think as ground crew for the Flying Tigers but I’m not positive. He came back sith a love of cooking Chinese food for his family, and I learned to eat with chopsticks very young, so young that I don’t remember not being able to do so.

I haven’t seen much of Grandpa since I left home to follow the academic lifestyle all over the country. The most recent time was about four years ago; he was building an extension on his house. I don’t write often enough either, but I think of him a lot, and of the effect he had on a little girl growing up in rural Michigan.

Happy birthday, Grandpa. I love you.

20 Comments on “How to live to be 95”

  1. #1 Stephanie
    on Nov 11th, 2013 at 10:40 am

    The happiest of birthdays to you, sir!

  2. #2 Dan
    on Nov 11th, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Happy 95th Birthday!!

  3. #3 Random Michelle
    on Nov 11th, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Happy 95th Birthday!

    May your days contain nothing but joy and love.

  4. #4 David
    on Nov 11th, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Happy birthday to you, sir!

    May your story be told and retold.

  5. #5 Jeri
    on Nov 11th, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Happy birthday – I wish you a year of joy and peace!

  6. #6 DataGoddess
    on Nov 11th, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Happy birthday!! *raises tea cup*

  7. #7 Anne C.
    on Nov 11th, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Happy birthday to a wonderful sounding gentleman. I love the part about bringing you armloads of books.

    Thank you for being such a wonderful grandfather to our Sarah.

  8. #8 Nick
    on Nov 11th, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Grandpa Goslee is a great guy – hospitable and welcoming, a true font of stories, and a dab hand for fish in the pan as well as on the line. And a dog could do a lot, LOT worse than being his.

    Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

  9. #9 Donna Mallabone
    on Nov 11th, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Happy Birthday to Sarah’s Grandfather, who gives wonderful advice!

  10. #10 Marjorie
    on Nov 11th, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Happy Birthday, Mr Goslee! Congratulations on your 95th (and on your granddaughter!)

  11. #11 Vince
    on Nov 11th, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Happy birthday, sir! And thank you for your service to our country.

  12. #12 Sarah Olsen
    on Nov 11th, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Dear Mr. Goslee:

    Isn’t this a strange manifestation of living in 2013: good wishes from strangers whom your granddaughter talks to but (in this case, at least) has never met? The world is full of such odd, pleasant things.

    I have chatted with your Sarah about her visits up here in Northern Michigan (I live in Cheboygan). Those trips with you have stuck with her. My grandfather loves airplanes, and when I was small he would take me to the big fly-in in Oshkosh every year. I learned so much, not about airplanes, but about how people could pursue their passions together, and about how people are so different and so interesting. Your Sarah’s life reflects things she learned from your example, too.

    I hope your birthday is full of as much quiet joy in today as nostalgia for the 95 years that came before and that you have the opportunity to relish both. Happy birthday, Mr. Goslee.


    Sarah Olsen

  13. #13 Tania
    on Nov 11th, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Happiest of days, sir. Hope your day and coming year is magnificent!

  14. #14 Janiece
    on Nov 11th, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Happy birthday to a fellow dog lover and bibliophile!

  15. #15 Megan
    on Nov 11th, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Happy birthday, Grandpa!

  16. #16 Bart
    on Nov 11th, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Happy Birthday from Arkansas, Mr. Goslee! You did good!

  17. #17 cori
    on Nov 11th, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    I wish you for your birthday, sir, as much joy and knowledge and fun and friendship as we have all received from your family. Thankyou. cori

  18. #18 Carol Elaine
    on Nov 12th, 2013 at 12:41 am

    A most wonderful and joyous birthday to you, Mr. Goslee! Sarah is a lovely person and I’m so happy that she has a grandfather like you. May the coming year be full of all the wonderful things in life.

  19. #19 danabren
    on Nov 19th, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Mooch is a great name for an animal – we had a local feral who we named Mooch, because she did.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Grandpa!

  20. #20 spacedlaw
    on Nov 19th, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    A merry happy birthday and many more oatmeal walks!